E. C. Tubb: obituary

Sadly, I learned today that Edwin CharlesĀ  Tubb, the British sf authorĀ  died in his sleep on the 10th September, 2010. Tubb was the author of over 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas. He was best known for The Dumarest Saga, an epic science-fiction saga set in the far future where mankind has been scattered across the stars and has forgotten his origins.

In 1990 Tubb took time to reply to a letter I had sent containing a tribute magazine with an editorial dedicated to him. In it he gave me some advice about writing

‘I don’t want to be told – I want to be shown.’

This simple statement exemplified his writing style – action packed, uncompromising, terse sentences and stark description. Each novel a roller-coaster that took you from one exciting moment to the next.

Tubb was highly successful as a writer but fell victim to a change of editorial policy on the death of the American editor and publisher Don Wollheimin who had commissioned the Dumarest series. The series was discontinued despite, it seems, popular demand (The French love Tubb). We were very fortunate to see its revival when long time fan, friend and editor Phil Harbottle began to act as Tubb’s agent. I for one am very glad that others could see the dynamic sparkle of Tubb’s talent.

In the same letter. written over twenty years ago to an aspiring young writer, Tubb said ‘losing Dumarest is almost like losing a friend. He’s been with me for a long time.’

I feel the same.